Université Laval reduces carbon footprint of investments by 42%

·4 min read

QUÉBEC CITY, Oct. 28, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - On the eve of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Université Laval and its Foundation have announced a 42% reduction in the carbon footprint of their equity portfolio. This remarkable achievement surpasses the interim 30% reduction target four years earlier than planned.

With this announcement, Université Laval and its Foundation (grouped together for investment purposes under the Trust) confirm their determination to align their investments with climate goals and undertake bold responsible investment strategies.

The portfolio's carbon footprint is now estimated at 85 tCO2e/$M compared to 146 tCO2e/$M in the baseline assessment conducted on December 31, 2018. Moreover, the Trust's carbon footprint is now 19% smaller than that of the current benchmark composite index of 104.3 tCO2e/$M. It should also be noted that other recent decisions, which will not be quantified until December 31, 2021, will help consolidate or even boost this performance.

"We've tackled a big challenge by rolling out a bold strategy faster than initially planned," said Université Laval Rector Sophie D'Amours. "The university community and its donors can be proud that the University and its Foundation are taking a leadership role to bring their investments in line with their values. While this major achievement is important, we must continue our vital work so we can exceed our targets and set ambitious new goals."

Complete withdrawal from the Carbon Underground 200

Université Laval and its Foundation has also confirmed that, as of August 31, 2021, the Trust has completely ceased all investments in companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200 (CU200), the benchmark widely used by student campaigns calling for fossil fuel divestment. The CU200 is a list of the top 100 public companies with the largest oil and natural gas reserves and the 100 public companies with the largest coal reserves.

André Darveau, Vice-rector of Administration, stressed this key additional achievement advocated by the student community. "Our student body is deeply committed to addressing climate change. Their commitment keeps pushing our University to go above and beyond to meet their goals, and we're happy to be able to share this positive outcome with them. But our work has only just begun. Now it's time to open a dialogue with our community to set new objectives, including a possible net-zero emissions portfolio."

Moreover, as December 31, 2018, simply divesting from the actions of CU200 would have generated a carbon footprint reduction of 19.3%, with is significantly less than the results announced by the University and its Foundation.

COP26 – 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference

As part of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Université Laval has joined some 733 other investors representing over $52 trillion as a signatory to the 2021 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis calling for world leaders to take decisive action.

As major economic players, large institutional investors, such as the Trust, have considerable pull with governments, businesses, and the public, and they should bring this influence to bear for society and the environment. "By participating in this joint statement, the Trust is helping send a powerful message that many economic players support the adoption of bold targets and robust mechanisms at COP26," said Alain Gilbert, President and CEO of the Université Laval Foundation – Development and Alumni Relations.

Other responsible investment news

Université Laval and its Foundation also announced a few other milestones on the road to responsible investment:

  • In 2021 the Trust joined the Climate Action 100+ investor group, which lobbies the 160 largest private sector greenhouse gas emitters by introducing resolutions at shareholder meetings.

  • The Trust made its first annual statement under the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in 2021.

  • As of 2019–2020, all Trust investment managers are members of the Responsible Investment Association. Prior to that, most, but not all, of these managers had been members for years.

  • The Trust is a member of four responsible investor networks:

  • The University is a signatory to the Investing to Address Climate Change charter, a joint initiative by 15 Canadian universities aimed at responsible investment.

SOURCE Université Laval

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